Fears over flood work funding

FEARS are growing that Morpeth may miss out on funding to tackle surface water flooding.

The Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) is concerned that no grant application has yet been made for the town to benefit from a national pot, while the qualifying criteria to secure such funds is getting tougher.

If no grant is awarded, the action group has warned that vital piping and drainage work may not go ahead.

Chairman Alan Bell said: “We are getting very concerned about the surface water flooding.

“Northumberland County Council is the lead on that, but it hasn’t made an application for any grant funding yet.

“We know that the outcome measures for funding, based on the number of houses and the cost benefit, has increased dramatically and we understand that the outcome measure for surface water flooding in Morpeth is well below that figure.

“At a course we went to about a month ago on the funding arrangements all of the people there from local authorities were complaining that the qualifying score has gone up to 236. The Morpeth score is about 101 so it seems pretty unlikely that it will qualify.

“If we don’t get the funding we would be concerned about whether the work would go ahead. Who is going to pay for it?

“There is a possibility that the year after this round of funding could see Morpeth qualify, but we don’t know that.”

He added: “The flood scheme does nothing about surface water and there is a danger that some properties could be worse off as surface water will get blocked up and will not be able to go anywhere. We have got grave concerns so we will be doing more lobbying.”

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “We have been working on options and proposals for dealing with surface water in five locations in Morpeth – High Stanners, Low Stanners, Mitford Road, Middle Greens and Carlisle View.

“We are developing a business case, with support from the Environment Agency, with the intention of applying for grant funding from Defra.

“We will be presenting our case in early spring.

“Subject to us securing the funding, we will incorporate these works into the Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme.”